Halloween may be months away, but as an important part of pop culture, it’s never too early nor too late to talk about this exciting season. On the night of hallow’s eve, thousands get dressed in costumes to party or enjoy the many festivities of the night. But the real horrors of Halloween do not just lie in the fear of the paranormal or other superstitious beliefs. On some nights, the real monsters don’t bother to conceal themselves behind masks anymore. The Halloween murders you are about to read are the most infamous cases that took place on the scariest day of the year. Read all about them below.
Five Horrifying Halloween Murders
1. Martha Moxley
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Moxley had attended Mischief Night with her friends the evening before her body was found. It was one night in a year where the neighborhood kids would pull pranks such as ringing bells and toilet papering houses. According to eyewitnesses, Moxley was seen kissing Thomas Skakel, the nephew of Ethel Skakel Kennedy of the renowned Kennedy family.
Naturally, all eyes were on Thomas during the investigation of Moxley’s murder. The young girl was found underneath a tree in her own family’s backyard with her trousers and underwear pulled down, although there were no visible signs of rape or sexual assault. An autopsy report indicated that Moxley was bludgeoned and stabbed with a golf club, which was later found in Skakel’s home.
The Kennedy family did everything they could to protect Thomas, who maintained his innocence the whole time. With no means of defeating the powerful Kennedys, the Greenwich Halloween murder remained a cold case for 16 years.
In 1991, new allegations brought the case back to the public eye, only this time the spotlight was on Michael Skakel, Tommy’s brother. Investigative journalist Dominick Dunne famously persecuted Michael’s actions in his series Dominick Dunne’s Power, Privilege, and Justice. He stated how Michael was so obsessed with Martha, that he once climbed a tree outside her bedroom and masturbated. In 2002, Skakel was finally convicted of the murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
2. Peter Fabiano
One of the Halloween murders is the case of Peter and Betty Fabiano became a subject of interest back in the 1950s. The couple was awakened by the doorbell ringing on 11:00 p.m. Despite thinking that it was a little too late for trick-or-treaters, Peter still greeted the visitor with a candy bowl on hand. After all, who wants to be that one person who spoils the fun on Halloween?
To his surprise, there was a woman in blue jeans and a cheap mask pointing the bottom of a paper bag to his chest. It was the last thing Peter Fabiano saw in his entire life. Betty found him in a pool of his own blood as a car hastily sped away. At first, the authorities were baffled with the case. Who would want to kill the kind neighborhood hairdresser anyway?
As police dug deeper into the case, shocking revelations came to light. Joan Rabel was named the primary suspect after lying about her whereabouts that night. Rabel was a family friend and was once employed at one of Peter’s salons. However, due to lack of evidence, the police let her go. The case took yet another turn when police were tipped by an anonymous caller to find the murder weapon inside a rented locked in an area department store. Sure enough, they found the .38 revolver that matched the bullets used to kill Peter Fabiano.
Upon further investigation, the gun was traced back to a certain Goldyne Pizer, a lab technician at the local children’s hospital. But who was this woman? And how was she related to the Fabiano family?
Further clues led the police back to the primary person of interest: Joan Rabel. Pizer and Rabel were in a sexual relationship, and the latter had been implanting thoughts on Pizer’s head about how evil Peter Fabiano was. Before long, Pizer agreed to help Rabel kill him. With a gun in tow, the duo drove to Fabiano’s house to carry out their heinous plan.
So now that the police had their suspects under custody, the next thing they needed to determine was a motive. To put it simply, Rabel had been having an affair with Peter’s wife, Betty. Her fatal attraction drove her to seduce Pizer so she could push her into murdering Peter. During their trials, the two pleaded not guilty, with Pizer pulling the insanity card to help her case. They managed to cut a plea deal for second-degree murder and were sentenced to life in prison.
3. Patricia Ward
At the same moment, the neighbors discovered that the body was not a Halloween prop after all. Turns out, it belonged to Patricia Ward, a charming 66-year-old professor at New York’s Farmingdale State College. The man who committed the horrendous murder-suicide was her own son, Derek Ward. Derek had a history of mental illness, and the recent death of his grandfather triggered a violent episode. Police could only presume what really happened that day Patricia was decapitated, as there were no witnesses or sounds heard at the time of the murder.
4. The East Coast Rapist
Aaron Thomas was once a resident in Woodbridge. He developed a relationship with a woman named Jewell Hicks and even took her young son under his wing. The relationship eventually faltered, but the two remained close. He came to visit her on Halloween to help her move out of the house they used to share. When Hicks left, Thomas stalked the three trick-or-treaters. He later ambushed and pointed a gun shaped lighter at them. Thinking it was a real gun, the girls got into his car where they ended up at the bottom of a rain-drenched ravine. Thomas ordered the girls to line up and lie down. He raped all the girls and shortly fled after. The youngest victim sent a text to her mother, which said, “Man raping my friend in the woods behind CVS call 911.” She then dialed 911 herself, but Thomas was nowhere to be found.
DNA evidence eventually traced back to Thomas, who confessed to his crimes in 2011. Turns out, he was the “East Coast Rapist,” a monster who enveloped New England in fear for 12 years. It was only during the Halloween abduction that police managed to narrow their search down to Thomas, who was linked to as many as thirteen unsolved rape cases. He was eventually sentenced to three life terms plus 80 years. Police are currently investigating his involvement in other rape cases.
5. The Liske Family
When he returned home for the second time, Devon noticed that the house was eerily quiet, so he decided to check on his family. There, he made a shocking discovery: his stepfather, mother, and brother were all dead as they lay in their respective beds. Devon initially thought it was nothing but an elaborate prank, but as soon as the images of their lifeless bodies really sunk in, he frantically called the police.
During that same morning, police arrested 24-year-old William who coldly confessed to murdering his own family. He had shot his father in the head five times and turned the gun to his stepmom before beating his stepbrother to death with a claw hammer. William has had a history of schizophrenia and was prone to violent outbursts. He was sentenced to life in prison.